This post is informed by stories from Automotive NewsWire and USA Today.


China’s Minister of Industry and Information, Miao Wei, reported recently that China exported a total of 824,000 vehicles in 2011, a 50% increase over the prior year.  He said he expects China will export more than 1 million units within the next year or two.

Mr. Miao credited the export increase in 2011 to the increasing number of vehicles available in China for export and the maturing of the nation’s domestic manufacturers.

What do you think that means?

In plain English, what it really means  is that the decline in domestic demand for vehicles in 2011 in China made it imperative for China’s auto manufacturers to export vehicles-just to keep their assembly plants operating.


According to USAToday on the topic of U.S. made automobile exports, “More than 1.5 million new cars were exported last year, up 38% from 2009, Commerce Department data show. Last year’s automotive exports were valued at $36.7 billion.”

Here are 2 questions to spur your thinking.

Question 1: Which Automaker exported the most autos from the US last year?

This company's automobile exports topped $7 billion last year.That's a mere 68% increase over 2010.

Question 2: Which country put punitive duties on automotive exports from the other?

What is our point?

I remember when the Chinese were planning on exporting auto’s to the U.S.

Why are the Chinese selling cars everywhere else in the world but not here in the U.S.?

We don’t have the answer to that yet, but we think that it may be a “tell” that there is more hardball to be played in the field of trade relations… and currency valuations.

What do you think?

Just learned that an American National Standard for calculating the Cost Per Hire has been published.

ANSI/SHRM 06001.2012

50 pages to say CPH= the sum of External Costs plus Internal Costs divided by number of hires.

Normally, I’m all for Standards, Consensus, and Systems.

But this one is a 50 page American National Standard just to get the HR Department and the Finance Department to agree that :

CPH = (External Costs) + (Internal Costs) / Total Number of Hires in a Time Period

Seems a bit like overkill.

Although this is a pdf available on line, I question the need for 50 pages to “standardize” a definition of a simple quotient.

In my world, complex minds simplify, and simple minds complexify.

Here’s a link to your own 50 page pdf of ANSI/SHRM 06001.2012

Your QA manager can put you to sleep explaining the difference between these two terms- but you really need to know the difference.

Accuracy describes 'close to true value;' Precision describes 'repeatability.'

Accuracy in measurement describes how closely the measurement from your system matches the actual or true measurement of the thing being measured. It is the difference between the observed average of measurements and the true average.

Think of accuracy as the “trustworthiness” of a measurement system.

Precision in measurement describes how well a measurement system will  return the same measure; that is its Repeatability.

As the targets above show, it is important to be both Accurate and Precise if you are to get useable information from your measurement system.

But the repeatability has two components- that of the measurement system (gage) itself and that of the operator(s). Differences resulting from different operators using the same measurement device- this is called Reproducibility.

In our shops, we cannot tell if our measurement system has repeatability or reproducibility issues without doing a Long Form Gage R&R study.

Gage repeatability and reproducibility studies (GR&R) use statistical techniques  to identify and discern the sources of variation in our measurement system: is it the gage, or is it the operator?

Gage error determined by the GR&R is expressed as a percentage of the tolerance that you are trying to hold.

Typically, 10% or less Gage Error is considered acceptable. Over 30% is unacceptable; between 10 and 30% gage error may be acceptable depending on the application.

Regardless- any level of gage error is an opportunity for continuous improvement.

Target Graphic

“Manufacturing production should outperform GDP growth…”

The U.S. manufacturing recovery continues on track and should outperform overall GDP growth through 2013, according to the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) U.S. Industrial Outlook (E0-103), a quarterly report that analyzes 27 major industries.
Manufacturing outlook is positive.

“There exists pent-up demand for consumer durable goods, particularly for motor vehicles, and firms are profitable and need to spend more for both traditional and high-tech business equipment,” said Daniel J. Meckstroth, Ph.D., MAPI Chief Economist and author of the analysis.

“In addition, strong—though decelerating—growth in emerging economies is still driving U.S. exports.”

Despite the fact that the global economy remains volatile, Meckstroth said the risk of recession for the U.S. has receded in the last three months.
Takeaway for precision machining shops:
Manufacturing industrial production increased 4.5 percent in 2011. MAPI forecasts that it will increase 4 percent in 2012 and 3.5 percent in 2013. The 2012 forecast is up 1 percent and the 2013 forecast is down 0.5 percent from the December 2011 report. Manufacturing production should outperform GDP growth, which MAPI estimates will be 2.2 percent in 2012 and 2.4 percent in 2013.
America needs skilled manufacturing workers; Our children need Jobs. What's the problem?

Excerpted from Barberbiz Blog

Try This and See What Happens

Greg Knight, vice president of  PMPA member AMT Machine Systems,  suggests conducting a little experiment. In a social setting with a group of people, try suggesting that manufacturing just might be an alternative to a traditional four-year college degree.

“The reaction will be, ‘No, my kid needs to go to college.’ A career in manufacturing is not seen as a legitimate choice,” said Knight. “You cannot change ideas on this in a short period of time. This is about cultural change and it will take a lot of time and a lot of work.”

In the recently released “Public Pulse on American Manufacturing” by Deloitte, only 33 percent of parents would encourage their child to pursue a career in manufacturing, only 19 percent of school systems are perceived to encourage students to pursue careers in manufacturing, and only 17 percent of students report being encouraged by their parents to pursue a career in manufacturing.

Our Torn Views

It’s clear that Americans value a strong manufacturing sector. When asked which industries are most important to the national economy, manufacturing is always near the top of the list. If you were to poll economic developers nationwide and ask them if they could create 1,000 new jobs in their community with any new facility, you can bet that for most communities would choose manufacturing.

And yet, if you were to ask those same economic developers if they wanted their sons or daughters to pursue a career in manufacturing, what do you think the answer might be. Well, I think you probably already know the answer to that one.

So we are torn. We want manufacturing jobs, just for someone else. Deloitte’s public pulse study showed that out of seven key industries, manufacturing ranks second to last as a career choice. It remains perceived by most people as an unstable long-term career choice. And our future talent pool is none too thrilled. Among 18-24 year-olds, manufacturing ranks dead last among industries as a career choice.

That’s not good. We have our work cut out for us.

So mamas, your babies don’t have to grow up to be doctors and lawyers and such. They can have a good future in a modern manufacturing plant if they only pursue the training and develop the needed skills.

Nobody said it can or would be easy.

There are no guarantees in life, just better informed choices.

Manufacturing deserves another look.

(Speaking of Precision:I became acquainted with Dean Barber’s thinking through some online discussions  on LinkedIn groups. I thought his thinking reflected ours and was worth sharing.

You can read his full blog here.)


The high price of copper and other base metals has led to an increase of metal theft incidents across the country, and Ohio leads the nation for insurance claims resulting from the crime. 

Copper thefts continue to rise. Copper from air conditioning stolen from this church.

Insurance claims linked to metal theft across the country jumped to 25,083 between 2009 and 2011, up 81 percent from the three-year period between 2006 and 2008, according to a new report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The report showed insurance claims for metals thefts were up 81% from the last report covering 2006-2008.

The top five states generating the most metal theft claims

  •  Ohio (2,398);
  • Texas (2,023);
  •  Georgia (1,481);
  •  California (1,348);
  •  Illinois (1,284).

The top-five Core Based Statistical Areas generating the most metal theft claims:

  •  Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, IL (963);
  • New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ (921);
  • Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA (823);
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth-Arlington, TX (674); 
  • Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI (587).

Copper theft is the most common item for the crime, and thieves have stolen copper piping and wiring from churches, abandoned homes and buildings, construction sites, cellphone towers and other unguarded properties, as well as from manufacturing plants.

Anyone with information concerning metal theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422), texting keyword “fraud” to TIP411 (847411) or by visiting our Web site at Or, iPhone or iPad users can download the NICB Fraud Tips app to make it easy to quickly send a tip and get a response

One Northern California Company provides a high tech  service to help protect property.



The new HAZCOMM 2012 ‘Right to Understand’ will impact 5 million businesses at an OSHA estimated cost of only $201 million dollars.

Thats just $40 per workplace to cover:

  • Cost of classifying Chemical hazards to meet the new GHS criteria;
  • Cost to revise Safety Data sheets and labels to meet the new format and content requirements;
  • Cost to train 43 million employeeson the new format and content of material symbols and data sheets;
  • Cost to management of those 5 million workplaces to become familiar with the new GHS requirements, assess, revise, develop and implement new compliance materials needed to adopt GHS;
  • Cost for printing new packaging and labels in color;

OSHA thinks that we can do it for $201 million a year- that’s just $40 per workplace!

OSHA says this is all it will cost your shop to adopt this new standard, become familiar with its requirements, reclassify all your chemicals, train your people, change all labels and data sheets. WHAT were they thinking?

Using Department of Labor enforced Federal Minimum Wages, $7.25 an hour, that means that they think that it will only take 5,5 hours to get a shop into compliance.

(Please, correct my math if I’m wrong!)

5-1/2 hours!

The PDF of the final rule is 858 pages!

Just to read that in 5.5 hours would mean reading 156 pages per hour.

At a nickel a page, just printing the final rule puts us over at $42.90.

Who the heck does these estimates? What were they thinking?

We really understand that regulations can provide a benefit to workers, companies and communities.

Especially where hazardous chemicals are involved.

But when the regulators underestimate the potential costs of adoption and compliance by such a large factor, it makes us wonder what other assumptions are they working under that are just as wrong?

P.S.  Do you think that OSHA or OIRA actually have  employee’s that can read 156 pages of federal technical regulation in an hour? At $7.25 an hour?

Zelinski: “Any product you pick up and touch, it’s not too many steps away from a machining process.”

Most of the parts in your car engine come from a CNC machine. Medical devices, your kitchen cabinets — CNC machine. Your computer case, your iPhone earbuds — well, no. But the mold that created them — CNC machine.

The growth of these machines represents the biggest change in manufacturing over the last 20 years. The people who run them are factory workers.

But they also have to be computer programmers. And they are in high demand.

Marketplace on  American Public Media /National Public Radio Closed with a story on the importance of CNC machining last night.

You can access the podcast and read the full transcript at NPR CNC STORY 

Bottom line : Skilled operators of CNC machine tools are in high demand.

High enough demand to make the national financial news on NPR.

Tip of the hat to Peter Zelinski at Modern Machine Shop magazine, for effectively describing and communicating the opportunity of CNC machine technology for our workforce.

Modern Machine Shop is the Flagship publication of Gardner Publications, who co-produce Production Machining Magazine with PMPA.

CNC Podcast

Photo credit Dustin Dwyer at MarketPlace


PMPA Member W.H.Bagshaw Company and employee featured on CNN Money!

Making it in the USA.

Jonathan Pratt at W.H.Bagshhaw says: “I picked up newer manufacturing techniques quickly. I am learning new things every day. I think I can move up the ranks here and make more money.

Manufacturing is my lifetime career. There’s always going be a manufacturing job out there for me. I know my skills are in high demand.

We need more Americans on board with manufacturing. It’s steady and stable work. I really hope people grasp that and that Made in USA flourishes again.”

We couldn’t agree more, Jonathan!

Find yourself in a career in advanced manufacturing!

This proves to me that all the fire and heat  associated with landing space craft is about slowing down from orbital velocity, not altitude.

Felix Baumgartner prepares to jump at 71,580 feet- that's almost twice as high as commercial airliners at 35,000 feet!

On March 15, 2012, Austria’s Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a space capsule from an altitude of approximately 71,580 feet as the Red Bull Stratos project moved forward into the manned flight stage in New Mexico. The 42-year-old rode the space capsule attached to a giant helium balloon above the so-called “Armstrong Line.” The goal of the Red Bull Stratos project is to see Baumgartner attempt a record-breaking freefall from 120,000 feet this summer where he’ll potentially become the first man to go supersonic without the support of a vehicle.

Anybody know who made the fittings and components for the space capsule, space suit, and breathing systems?

Precision machinists did!

Felix Baumgartner and Red Bull Stratos Team put them to quite a test!

Happy Landing!

See the video here: